Graceling - Kristin Cashore

Though it's sad to have to say it, Graceling offers readers a rare thing: one of the strongest, most independent, most original female characters available in the fantasy and young adult genres. Cashore's lead character Katsa is unburdened by convention (or reader expectation) and demonstrates beautifully how wonderful a novel can be when an author is uncompromising in her vision to create not simply an enjoyable, heartfelt novel, but one that destroys all the stereotypes of gender that fans of fantasy have come to believe. I loved this novel, and was tearful by it conclusion. Every young person in the America should be exposed to Graceling.